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Festivalgoers relish sun-soaked second day of Firefly as headliners take stage


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The shoes of hundreds of festivalgoers flaunted varying levels of dried mud – a brown badge of courage attesting to their attendance at the first day of the Firefly Music Festival in Dover. 

The festival got off to a late start Thursday as heavy rains delayed it from 3 to 7:30 p.m., and thousands of fans waited for shuttles to take them to the campgrounds. Some chose to traverse the muddy path instead. 

On Friday, on the second day of the festival, the sun returned in full force as attendees basked on the once-muddy and treacherous lawn. As one band set ended, festivalgoers hurriedly walked and jogged to an adjacent stage to catch the beginning of the next one. 

Some attendees slowly rocked in hammocks while others perused the various food stalls the festival had to offer.

Friday’s rock-heavy, noteworthy acts included The Killers, Cage the Elephant, Band of Horses, Peach Pit and Taking Back Sunday. 

As the muddy paths of the previous night began to dry up, attendees relished the first full day of the festival and all of its amenities. Firefly is the biggest event Delaware has held since the beginning of the pandemic. 

MUDDY START: Firefly gets off to slow, muddy start as severe weather moves across state

For 24-year-old Johnny Venus, it was the first music event he attended since the start of the pandemic. For Venus, a first-time Firefly festivalgoer and self-described “avid concert person,” the festival was the perfect opportunity for him to return to the live events. 

“I miss concerts,” Venus said. “It's been really hard just going through the pandemic without concerts.” 

On Thursday afternoon, Venus and his friends waited for an hour in the shuttle as they tried to get into the campgrounds. They ended up getting off and walking before taking an Uber the rest of the way. 

“My feet were just so dirty,” Venus said as he motioned to his muddy yellow Crocs.  

Given the isolation of the past year of the pandemic, Venus is excited to just hang out and dance with his friends during the different sets throughout the day, but is most looking forward to seeing The Killers close out the night.

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The group plans to shotgun a beer when the band starts playing their famous song, “Mr. Brightside.” The Killers, who are headlining the festival, have stirred a great deal of excitement and anticipation among numerous festival attendees. 

John Johnson, 27, even made a shirt that asks onlookers to send a picture of him to the band on Instagram to help him score a chance to sing with them on stage. Johnson, who came from South Jersey for the festival, has been singing their song, “When You Were Young,” since he was in middle school. 

“From sixth grade to now. In the shower, in the car and to people in the bar who I don’t even know. I’m singing that song,” Johnson said. 

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Johnson, who minored in music in college, acknowledged his slim chances in his quest,  but his commitment and excitement did not wane  as he tried to get on stage with one of his favorite bands. 

Nearby, Carolyn Donmoyer stood in mud-covered shoes as she watched other festivalgoers pass by – a favorite activity of hers. 

“I love people watching,” Donmoyer said. “Everyone looks amazing and it’s just fun to see everyone’s personality too.” 

BILLIE EILISH: Billie Eilish signed a fan's chest mid-set at Firefly Music Festival. He's getting it tattooed.

Donmoyer made the two-hour trek from Pennsylvania on Thursday to attend the festival. The rain-soaked first day was tough but worth it to see Billie Eilish perform, she said. 

“It was chaotic, but it was good,” Donmoyer said. “Billie was amazing.” 

The muddy beginning of the festival has given way to a roaring second day where attendees and artists are beginning to settle into the groove of the event.

With the dense woods around them and headliners yet to perform, fans are beginning to feel the full-force of the festival in full swing.

Contact the reporter at jcastaneda1@delawareonline.com or connect with him on Twitter @joseicastaneda.